It’s been a few years since I’ ve posted an article on this site and I’m back now and ready to start reviewing products and writing articles again. The last week was spent getting the site up to the latest version of WordPress and this is the first post since that was done.
After a bit of work and help from a friend, thevoipgirl.com site is now running WP version 3.5.1. I went for a basic theme to get started but I may update the site to a StudioPress site in the future. I really like StudioPress, but for the short term I’m using the 2010 theme.
The site has moved to the latest version of WordPress, but I still need to do some work to get the teamplate all setup and looking good. I was really keen to start writing again and I will update the site as I go.
Since this is the first post in awhile, this is also a test post to make sure everything is working and re-introduce the site.
It’s has been awhile since I’ve written an article and the technology has really changed, it’s going to be exciting reviewing new products and providing my feedback. As always, I really appreciate your comments and feedback.
From reviewing the latest comments I see a lot of interest in Skype and I’m planning on reviewing this software and writing some tips. Well that is it for now and more to come shortly.
This caught my eye today. AvantiMobile in the UK is marketing something called Least Cost Routing for mobile phones. When you make a call, the Avantimobile application in your phone checks to see if it can be routed cheaply through their VOIP network. If it can’t, the call goes through the regular cell network. You don’t have to do a thing except dial. It sounds simple and I like that.
Trying to absorb all my choices when it comes to new VOIP handsets, services and applications makes me feel like I need a flow chart just to make a call. Just look at Andy’s list of what he uses day to day!
This week thevoipgirl.com went down in flames for the first time. I think it was out for a couple of days after I upgraded my WordPress template and then managed to hose my site. After the initial shock, depression set in since I have absolutely NO idea how PHP works. Thankfully the WP template I’m using is superbly supported by its creator and other code wizards. It turned out to be something wonky with the permissions in my index.php and nothing to do with upgrading (greek to me). So, the reason for this post, in a nutshell, is to recommend this highly customizable and well supported template. Check out Semiologic Pro by Denis de Bernardy. Cheers!
It’s been about a year since I bought my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop and I’ve really loved it, except for one little thing that’s become a big annoying problem. When I have a headset plugged in, I quite often hear squealch-like static that renders the conversation inaudible. Calls I’ve had on SightSpeed and Skype have been plagued by this problem, and until now I always put it down to cheap headset hardware. Instead it turns out to be a Dell design flaw. My searches on the Dell forums indicate that it’s been more than just me experiencing this static and the culprit seems to be a wonky bit of wiring in the headset jack.
So, I’ve broke up with analog headsets forever and purchased a Plantronics DSP-400 folding USB headset. So far so good. It’s a wired headset and costs about $100.
Some wireless headsets worth a look if you’re having a similiar Dell moment is the Plantronics CS-50 USB Wireless Headset, Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headset, or the Plantronics Audio 910 Bluetooth headset. All are pricey but going wireless may be worth it.
The intrepid Tom Keating reviews two headsets here:
This morning I was down in our basement office pecking away. It’s a great spot to hide. I am effectively cut off from the what’s going on in the rest of the house (a blessing at times). Can’t hear a thing…no doorbell, kids pummeling each other, or the kettle… I guess my husband got tired of the kettle screeching away so he sent me a text message from the kitchen PC. "Hi…water boiling". Now that’s practical IM.
Thanks to Tom Keating for alerting me to Skype’s new call transfer feature. Tom points out that this feature that smooths the way for Skype as a practical business phone system.
Call transfer is available as part of Skype 3.5 BETA so it’s still in trial mode. You won’t get this version by updating Skype from the Help menu. You need to go here and download the beta.
Bloggers like Andy and Phoneboy have made mention of Gizmo Project growing pains and bugs. Sometimes timing is everything because I was just thinking that. Well, maybe I’m feeling a little cranky today. I haven’t seen the problems Andy and Phoneboy have, but I do see other Gizmo-related errors and general “not responding” messages regularly, and it’s getting me down.
I’ve also never been able to get GizmoCall to work for me at all despite numerous pleas to tech support and the forums. I reported on it’s launch but was waiting to give a user opinion. Never happened. I really think that Gizmo is going in the right direction with the additional services like SMS, web calling, integration with other IM networks. I recently decided to use Gizmo as my primary chat interface since I can integrate with MSN,Yahoo, Google, and others. A new features lets you import your MSN contact list into Gizmo at one shot instead of laboriously one by one. And Gizmo is SO easy to set up with the Nokia N95 which means I can use it to make mobile internet calls. I also use Gizmo to handle all my incoming calls through GrandCentral. Another big plus.
When the sun is shining you can overlook application not responding and other weirdness. But you can also get tired of making excuses. Sigh. I feel it’s kind of like a great outfit, love the color, the style, looks good on me, perfect for the occasion, but it doesn’t quite fit right.
I’ve had my Nokia N95 for a few weeks now and my husband and I have been fighting over it. I don’t consider myself a picky person, so I was surprised that some small external differences on the handset from the N80i made such a huge difference. I like this phone better. It’s thinner, has a comfortable feel in the hand, and the button ergonomics work better. On the N80 I frequently make mistakes using the center scroll/selection button. Not the case on the N95. Other reveiws of this phone also point to the larger screen. First, I thought, “come on, it’s a screen on a PHONE. A few pixels either way isn’t going to make a difference”. Well, wrong again.
N80i (left), N95 (right)
N95 (left), N80i (right)
As for what’s going on inside the N95, a big improvement from my point of view is the ease of setting up a Wi-Fi connection. It took me just a few minutes this time to get connected through my home network.
That’s it for my initial thoughts, more later on calling with GizmoProject and EQO. But if you need more, check out this podcast with three Nokia reviewers here.
On Wednesday Jangl announced a new service called “Call Anyone” that allows you to get a phone number for someone just by entering their email address. With â€œCall Anyoneâ€ you enter someoneâ€™s email address on Janglâ€™s homepage www.jangl.com. You are then given a local phone number to call them (even if they’re long distance, you get a number local to you). During the first call, you leave a voicemail, which Jangl then delivers via email. Once they receive that message, the person gets instructions to get a number â€“ local to them â€“ to call you back. This service still keeps your personal number safe, enables text messaging via SMS and the easy exchange of voicemails, too.
The service is free but the calls are placed and received on “real” phones so you pay the appropriate carrier or mobile airtime fees.
I tried it and it seems to work just fine. The email that Jangl sends to notify the person you’re calling looks a bit suspicious so I suggest customizing the subject and text of the message (you can do this in the first screen before sending). Embedded in the email is a link to listen to the message. Once the person listens to the message, they can click another link to get the private number for calling you back.
I also noticed that Jangl updated their look and feel and it works much better for me. The control panel doesn’t seem as confusing as it was before. I have a problem displaying the Flash widgets however. They don’t appear in the preview area.
When Jon from Fring emailed me to say that they now support Twitter, I immediately thought of Phoneboy. If you follow his blog at all, you’ll know he is a Twitter devotee and frequently defends Twitter from jaded skeptics and nay-sayers. So, does this mean that now we can expect Phoneboy to Fritter (Fring plus Twitter)?
BTW: I see that he’s also now blogging at See Into S60. Way to go!